Tag Archives: rugby

#thenewauckland

18 Sep

It’s been only eight weeks since I was last in Auckland, but a lot has changed In Time For The™ Rugby World Cup™. I went for a wander and tweeted my thoughts.

  • Impression No 1: They tidied up the airport a bit before having guests over.
  • Impression No 2: Approaching Wynyard Quarter from Beaumont St, there ain’t the feeling you’re coming to anything spesh.
  • Impression No 3: Wynyard Quarter looks a bit of alright. But only a bit.
  • Impression No 4: Why, Mr City Link driver, did you run to Commerce St when I pushed bell on Fanshawe? Change for game day?
  • Impression No 5: Queen’s Wharf is looking bloody good. Prices steep but not unbecoming of a major world sporting event.
  • Impression No 6: Britomart Concourse is starting to resemble a real rail station. The sooner they Flinderise it the better.
  • Impression No 7: In 1-2 hrs, pedestrian volumes will justify closing Queen St to cars from Mayoral to Customs. Won’t happen.
  • Impression No 8: [Auckland Art Gallery] exterior looks amazing! But 4 tourists saw the temp site on Wellesley&Lorne and were confused.
  • Auckland Art Gallery's subliminal suggestion.

    Auckland Art Gallery's subliminal suggestion.

    Impression No 9: Just left [Auckland Art Gallery]. This is what I’m doing tomorrow [pic].

  • Impression No 10, overheard leaving the Queens Wharf Booze Barn: “That was pretty av, ay.”
  • Impression No 11, from the corner of Darby & Elliott Sts. More of Auckland should be like this. Bits of Newmarket, perhaps?
  • Impression No 12: Aotea Square, significantly underutilised for [the Rugby World Cup]. A good thing?
  • Impression No 13: [Q Theatre] I quite like you, well, the publicly accessible bits at least. Greys Ave end still the same.
  • Impression No 14: [University of Auckland National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries] is setting up some cool shit in Myers Park atm, hope the weather holds up for the Fan Trail.

Also, I forgot to mention that it was good to see The Improvisors doing their roaming character thing down at Queens Wharf. Kenny King was Captain James Cook, the others were generic scurvy dogs.

After that tweet’n’walk, I saw The First Asian A* B* at the Basement in advance of the Wellington season (opens Thu 22 September). Andrew Corrêa was doing the live music on a digital piano, ukulele, congas, egg shaker, tinwhistle and domestic bell. I suspect I won’t replicate his instrumentation completely but I’ve come away with a lot of ideas.

Immediately upon the end of the show (7:35pm) I walked the Fan Trail to Eden Park to see Ireland defeat Australia (started at 8:30pm). That was quite satisfying, wearing my bright green Newtown hoodie to express my support of a) the underdog b) not Australia.

Lastly, I’m considering buying a North Harbour rugby shirt to wear during performances of The First Asian A* B*… I think it’d be a nice touch. You can buy this year’s shirt for $160, or last year’s shirt for $100. I can’t say the black really appeals to me though… whatever happened to the white shirt with the black & burgundy stripe? Must be years old…

Some observations

13 Sep

Observation the First: It’s only been 7 weeks since I was last in Auckland (I don’t count the terminal transfer on my USA trip), but there’s so much new stuff for me to see this weekend. Wynyard Quarter, Queen’s Wharf, The Cloud, The Improvisors entertaining RWC punters, Auckland Art Gallery, Q Theatre…

Observation the Second but following on from the First: I’m really glad to see that the city of my birth has started getting its shit together, train systems notwithstanding. I think a certain Mr Joyce should be a little more co-operative on that front.

Observation the Third: My parents are awesome. They are Rugby World Cup volunteers and have scored me a free ticket to Australia vs Ireland at Eden Park on Saturday night. I’m going to go with my Dad and it’ll be great.

Observation the Fourth related to the Second and the Third which is actually a statement of intent: The First Asian A* B* finishes just before 7:30pm at The Basement (Lower Greys Ave, Auckland Central), and Australia vs Ireland starts at 8:30pm at Eden Park.

  • Original plan prior to Friday 9 September: Leave Basement, walk down the hill to Britomart Station, take the train to Kingsland Station, walk to the ground.
  • New plan after Friday 9 September: Leave Basement, walk 45 minutes straight to Eden Park, actually get to the game on time.

Observation the Fifth which is actually a Question: What the hell was up with that Welsh penalty kick?

Observation the Sixth following from the Fifth: Nobody at Sky Sport (aka “HB”) has analysed the kick to death using multiple camera angles. Come on, at any major rugby OB there are like a dozen cameras on the action at any given time. What, is there some IRB prohibition against broadcasters second-guessing referees?

Observation the Seventh related to the Fifth and the Sixth: One part of me feels sorry for Wales for their loss. They’re the underdog, they played a good match against one of the strongest teams in the world, and they played a full 80 minutes of rugby. But another part of me reckons that you deserve to lose if you attempt a drop-goal in anything other than the 79th minute. It’s just not cricket. You’re in the Southern Hemisphere now, save that Jonny Wilkinson shit for back home.

Observation the Eighth: The All Blacks need to lose to France in our pool match on 24 September. Reasons:

  • France always messes us up. If the All Blacks win, they’ll be over-confident.
  • Winning seven test matches in a row is difficult at the best of times for the All Blacks, let alone any team in world rugby. Best to break the wins up with a loss in the middle.
  • France can only fire once. If they beat us, they won’t be a threat for the rest of the tournament. Jeez, they’ll probably even lose to Tonga a week later.
  • Losing a game will focus the mind, but losing this one is not fatal. We’ll just get second in Pool A, not first.
  • If we get second in Pool A, all the ABs fans who booked tickets to the expected quarter-final and semi-final will have their plans derailed. I will laugh heartily at indignant rugby fans whining in the media. Ho ho ho ho.

T* F* A* All Black

12 Sep

Rugby, racing and beer… well, just rugby and beer for me at the moment.

Since everybody else is, I’ll post this link:

Paul Fagamalo & Benjamin Teh in The First Asian A* B*

Paul Fagamalo & Benjamin Teh

Rugby vs Theatre: The First Asian AB

This interview was done by my good friend and colleague James Wenley. He’s such a good friend that I let him smash the electric guitar my parents gave me for my 12th birthday – all in the name of art. (I should really post the video of that some time.) He runs a website called Theatre Scenes, looking at the theatre scene (singular) in Auckland. Or maybe there are parallel scenes in parallel theatre universes in that city.

(“Oh, tricky parallel universes!” is an anagram for “City o’ Sails. Hark, P! Revere null.” That took me 15 minutes.)

The interview is about a play which I have read the script of but not seen any rehearsals for. This weekend I go to Auckland to observe the final two performances of the inaugural season, where the much talented Andrew Corrêa is playing the incidental music. Then on Thursday next week, the Wellington season opens at BATS Theatre and I play the incidental music.

I’m not really concerning myself with thinking about the play too much at this stage. Yeah, I’ve read the script, so I have a broad overview of where the story goes. Yes, I know it’s a two-hander and that the actors play multiple characters. Yes, I’m publicising it down here to a certain extent. But until I see what the actors are doing – and more importantly, until I see how Andrew has established the tone with his music – I’m not thinking about it.

My job for the Wellington season is to maintain the production’s continuity. It’s been through Read Raw in Auckland; it’s been rewritten, rehearsed, rewritten, rehearsed; and it’s opening at the Basement in just over 18 hours. I’ve been there for none of that process, but I hope to get up to speed pretty quickly!

Edit: Eva Radich interviews Renee Liang on Upbeat on Radio New Zealand Concert; audio below.


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